tv [untitled] August 7, 2010 8:00am-8:30am PST
. >> welcome to the department of building inspection brown bag lunch. this is our market tour. we're on market street on kearney and third. we're at the fountain, which was a major landmark at the time of the 1906 earthquake. this is a landmark because this is where people posted notices and notes to connect with people they were looking for. families and people in their business. most of this area was -- >> pretty much burnt out. >> pretty well burned out. we have pat with us, a structural engineer who has done work to upgrade the buildings around this area. >> or researched their history. >> or researched their history. we will look mostly at
buildings. we have a lot of other experts in the audience. i hope they will share with us. we have craig from the planning department. we have david bono witz, all kinds of folks here. feel free to chirp in. our plan is to take a couple-block tour and look at buildings, some of which survived the quake and some retrofitted. we will end up at 1230 at the mos connie center. we will look at them burning four model buildings. >> trying to burn. >> okay. where are we walking to. >> first let's know why we're meeting here. in 1906, this was the main drag into san francisco. this is how you came into san francisco. at this intersection, there were three major buildings. the call building, the examiner, and the chronicle. and the three major papers at
that time all wanted to be at this intersection. this building has been enlarged and a number of stories added so you can't see the historic character from this building from what it looked like in 06. it survived a fire as most steel framed buildings -- i'm sorry. survived the earthquake as most steel-framed buildings did. here is the chronicle building. it also survived the earthquake. the chronicle building is made up of two buildings in front. at the time of the '06 earthquake they were building the rear annex, which was the tallest building west of the mississippi. this building survived until the fire came. the fire did a lot of damage here. there is the examiner building. it also survived the earthquake, and the fire came.
>> really interestingly, steel-framed buildings were a newish thing in the turn of the century. how many do we have in the city? >> from that vintage, that are actually still here, we probably have 30 or 40. but what was interesting is, the robeling steel institute sent a team out here. there is a document where they went through the buildings. all the buildings they reported on went through the earthquake just fine. >> one didn't. the williams building. >> interestingly enough, the williams building was not in the book. they chose to ignore that. it was like a statistical throw out. >> all the ones they looked at were great. >> great. the one building they didn't include did poorly. in the '89 earthquake i was the
engineer retrofitting that building. it sustained a lot of damage. we did some research, and we're able to actually find the daughter of the engineer who built the building. according to her, the building was severely damaged. instead of going hmm not a good idea we better change it. they pulled out the building and rebuilt it to the same specs. >> after the 1906 earthquake the codes did not change and the standards didn't change and people generally rebuilt buildings as fast as they could without substantial seismic upgrades. can anybody tell us what is going on here with the building? here we have craig. go ahead. >> speak this way and loudly. >> what is going on here is an 8 to 14-story addition on the top of the historic building. first of all, you should know the original building here is
steel and terra cotta building that in the '60s was clad with metal panels on little steel panels to give it that look. some of the terra cotta was scraped off. the current project will restore the facade of the historic building designed by burnam and root, a famous chicago architectural firm, with one of our most renowned architects working on the detail. the addition will be setback and made of a different color brick. the building will be changed from office use to a mix of hotel, time share and residential units. that is the story on the old chronicle building. >> we have a question over here. hold on. >> when is it due to be complete? >> my guess is, i don't know for
sure, but on the order of a year and a half from now. >> this is affordable housing? >> surprisingly what it did was generate the restoration of another landmark two blocks up designed by the reed brothers, all the affordable housing component will be two blocks up the street in a landmark building. >> when people do development, there is trade-off for affordable housing. it is not always within the ritz carlton itself. it can be relocated or paid into a fund and used another way. >> we will walk a block down this way down commission street. we are down here at the corner of third street and mission street. there is lots of construction going on. some old buildings. this is not necessarily a historic walking tour. this is to talk about buildings and earthquake issues.
let me mention something more modern about earthquakes. i have been at this earthquake conference for a whole week. one of the big issues is what is the public expectation of the performance of a building. this is a good time to point out to you, the buildings only have to be built as well as the code that was in effect when they were built. if somebody said is my building up to code, i will say yes it is up to code. it is up to the 1909 code. in 1909 there was no requirement for earthquake design. >> until 1933 when the reilly act went into effect after the disastrous 1933 santa barbara -- >> long beach. >> destroyed elementary schools. they were brick.
if the kids were in school, we would have lost thousands of kids. that banned brick construction and required seismic designs to be incorporated in buildings. >> there was a major -- there are a number of thresholds over the course of the development. the big one is in the mid '70s, but a whole threshold, series of these thresholds. many of the older buildings, like the 1 across the street have been upgraded to meet some modern standards. this is the williams building that we were talking about that is the replacement of the building that was damaged in the 1906 earthquake. it was built just like it with the plans. >> this building they were going to dynamite it. in '06, they dynamited buildings to clear the path. >> from an interesting point of
view, spencer is here, this building is incorporating into the brand-new building next to it, which makes the new building an addition. it is not a new building. it is a brand-new building meeting today's code. we say you are a gigantic addition to an old historic building. >> did it change the permit fees? >> of course. >> one thing about publication able is how well buildings will perform. the brand-new building down there which is what? >> the brand-new glass and steel building. when we build brand-new high rise buildings they're required to meet the minimum standard of the building code. the building code is a minimum standard document. can you choose to build beyond it. few people choose to build buildings that are immediately occupiable after an earthquake.
most build buildings that won't collapse, which is what the building standard is. they won't collapse and they can be repair side whed is what we reasonably expect. >> potentially repaired. >> that is not what the public may think. earthquake proof. >> earthquake resistant. >> exactly. a lot of streets fill up with a lot of debris. the cornice, signs, glass, all that falls off the building. we have seen that in other earthquakes. the question is will we see that from new buildings as well? actually new buildings are designed so the buildings can sway or drift and there is enough so the glass doesn't pop
out. >> my best advice don't run out the door. if it is big enough you can't stand up. probably the best place to be is the building you're in, stay put. >> do not run outside. the most hazardous place is right outside the building where all the stuff might fall down. i was in japan at the time of the big earthquake. i was a few miles away. i went and looked at it. the sidewalks were filled. filled all the debris from the front of the building. stay in the building. we are in the danger zone. what are we doing here. if there is an earthquake now. >> it will be on film. >> it will all be on film. >> we have a question. >> i was wondering, did i understand correctly that this whole new tower is grandfathered in by being part of the older
building? is it being done with the old requirements? >> no, the new construction has to meet the requirements of today's code. they could have by law built the new tower to meet today's code and leave the old building to meet the old conditions. >> it was so badly damaged the city required it to be retrofitted. there was a retrofit done while debating whether to dynamite it. >> any new addition has to meet today's code. any part of the old building that supports the new addition vertically or laterally has to address today's code. we will walk a block down and look at the rialto building. (♪ music playing ) >> we're still here on mission street at the corner of annie
alley. they're named, somebody told me they're named for san francisco's early famous ladies. (chuckling). >> i want to point out the building here at 660 mission street, which i believe is an unreinforced masonry building retrofitted, seismically upgraded. once it is seismically upgraded, it is safe, right? >> when you seismically upgrade it, it is to a standard it doesn't collapse, but it may not be reusable or repairable. >> it was an economic decision of how much money the city could afford versus the benefits to retrofit the buildings. >> we have done about 90% of the upgrade. the standard is low enough that in a major upgrade most will have to be replaced and we lose these beautiful buildings.
many of the details are not what they appear to be. these are sheet metal details and trims. sheet metal cornices. san francisco was famous for the sheet metal work. when you go into the sheet metal shop, the whole front of the building is made of sheet metal. that is pacific? no, powell. >> i trick on how you can date old brick buildings, after the '06 earthquake they made windows with steel plates. before that earthquake if you see an arch, it is a pre '06. it is an easy way to date the buildings. >> you can see the great depth. that indicates these are exceptionally thick walls which
indicates it is masonry construction. >> pretty much everything on this block here is post '06, except for that building right there. and this building here, with the available sign on it, i used to own it a long time ago. i retrofitted it to a very high standard. can you retrofit brick buildings to a high standard, if you choose to, since i was going to occupy it. it would be embarrassing for an engineer to be in a building that is damaged. >> there is an issue of what standard. is it collapse prevention or immediate occupancy or immediate use. often i have found that the marginal cost difference is quite low to go to that next level. maybe a little more when you go up to the -- when you want to keep using immediate occupancy. but people need to understand that and make a conscious decision. do not leave the decisions to the engineer. these are not engineering
decisions. they're your personal decisions as an owner. >> since i was the owner i made the decision to go up. >> very informed owner. we will walk up to the rialto building on the corner up here. keep walking. (♪ music playing ) >> we are here just a little further down mission street past annie alley toward new montgomery. it was badly damaged. this was also burned? >> it also experienced fire damage. >> and dynamite damage? >> we will talk about the dynamite damage. people don't understand how much dynamiting they actually did. >> let's start with this brick building we are in front of. this is a building built after the 1906 earthquake and it was seismically retrofitted. you see the key elements you will notice when it is seismically retrofitted.
if we look at the building we see the diagonal steel bracing which is a key feature of many. >> most buildings have diagonal bracing for the earthquake because it is the most efficient, cost-effective way to carry the load. it has an effect of the architectural statement of the building, but the most efficient way to do the earthquake design. >> this building will be demolished is that right. >> yes. spurs, san francisco planning research bought this for the new headquarters building and they wanted something that was going to be more efficient and near square footage. in the planning process now to demolish this and build a snew structure. >> spur will demolish it and build a taller building. it is a great organization.
we hate losing old buildings, but spur of all organizations is careful about the historic value of the city. there are the pictures of the building that will be a terrific building. let's look across the street. >> talk about the small one first. >> if you go in there it was my offices for a number of years. if you go in looking for the braces they don't exist because they're not there. we used moment frames to hide the braces from the architectural statement of the building. just because you don't see braces don't mean the building hasn't been retrofitted. i as an informed owner didn't want to see the braces. >> the braces are the big diagonal thing. he put very large, like a big vertical and steel column with a big beam across and welded it up and hid it inside the frame of the building. >> you won't see it if you go in there and have lunch. the new owners opened up a lunch
place. >> it just opened up. i don't have a chance to say yes or no. >> after this we will go in and have lunch. we have a comment here by mr. bonowitz. >> you retrofitted the small building and adjacent to it i see two brick buildings. >> how do you feel about the big buildings. >> that is a hard question to answer. i put very thick plywood on the roof. >> how thick to support a story falling? >> (laughter). >> thanks for helping me out. (laughter). >> the rialto building. this is interesting building that survived the '06 quake. >> it did. in some of the reports it is reported it had undergone earthquake damage. if you look more into the building. in the 1907, they basically explain the damage is dynamiting. this is a building they tried
dynamite apart to create a fire break, and the building wouldn't do it. it said no because it is a steel framed building. and as a class steel frame buildings are very resistant to both earthquakes and dynamite. >> am i right? i think steel frame buildings are resistant, it is the composite action of the steel frame and other elements that are together with the frame that help make them support; is that right? >> yes. that includes the walls, the floor diaphragms. but the fire was really bad. this is what they were trying to do here is a fire break here. in addition to the heroic fire break that stopped the fire on van ness. >> dynamited around here. not just earthquake or fire damage, it was dynamite damage. >> one of the interesting stories is the amount of dynamiting they were doing in some cases was so excessive it was damaging buildings that
survived the earthquake and fire because they were blowing up the building 2 blocks away. the classic story is on the post office. it survived the earthquake and fire fine, but didn't survive the dynamiting of the next-door neighbor's building. >> they threw up flaming shards. and set the buildings alight. >> for an old steel frame, you see the beam and column and you can see the frame is shown there. on the side of the building, it is more solid with brick. the older steel frame correct relies on participation of the infill masonry and other stuff in there. they new steel frame building 101 california the high-rise down the block relies basically on the steel. you don't have that infill brick because that becomes a hazard sometimes too if it falls away from the building. a newer steel frame building
relies on the frame itself without infill. >> what that means is we're cutting thinner and thinner toward the acceptable level of safety. we're optimizing. i see that as reducing the comfort. i don't know. what do you think about that? >> i am in a 1920 steel frame building. i am very comfortable being in it. i would be as comfortable being in a 1995 steel frame building. when they came out with computer programs and could analyze down to 10 significant figures are the buildings the engineering community scratched their head and said we did too good of a job. optimize it. >> we're near second. there is an interesting older building that is a tall steel frame building that was badly
damaged. >> it was cracked. exterior walls were cracked. it was repaired. i was retained by the owner to investigate the building. in the robeling steel institute report it was identified as damage identical to the '89 damage. what was fascinating is the fire damage inside. they had steel shutters and wire class. the floors where they closed the windose h windows had no fire damage. and without the windows closed had fire damage. >> in reading the reports, is that fire spread happens through openings and windows. we have lots of belliuildings w openeni openenings. if it was built that way we
don't knock on the door say together is a hazard. it was built that way during the time. they're burning buildings with a fire-proof paint. if you coordinate that with wire glass or shutters or some kind of opening protection. i want to tell a story about the building across the street. in the 1989 earthquake, it was damaged. the whole facade was cracked. you can look up there. maybe we can get shots. the cracks, you can see them underneath, between the windows, these are classic earthquake cracks. the owner of the building at the time didn't know what to do. we had it wrapped with chain link fence and had to close off a lane of mission street for a while. the owner couldn't figure out what to do. the building was so important to him and an emotional part of his life, that he hung on to it even
though he had to make payments on it and paying money to do bracing. it finally drove him into bankruptcy. he died. his estate sold the building. buildings are more than buildings. they become part of people's lives. there are other issues. when engineers look at a building and say it is a crack here and it represents that. it is the first step, we have found. in all the earthquake, the important question is what does this mean to the owner and people that use it and how will it fit back into the pattern of life. >> in '06, a lot of people committed suicide because they lost everything. >> it is not just the financial loss. it is the other loss that is meaningful. >> your homes, belongings. >> which is one of the reasons that pat and i say look at the marginal cost difference of improving your home or building to the point you can plan to use it after an earthquake.
>> sleep in it. >> a home to go to and bed to lie in even if it has repair. >> that is a standard people ought to think about. >> the standard you ought to retrofit your house to is at the end of the nice you can climb into your bed. may not take a bath or shower but you can sleep in your bed. >> this is where we have an all-week centennial convention to commemorate the earthquake but to look at the new advances in engineering and risk analysis and what it means for public policy. one of the things interesting is at this convention we see new products and technologies being brought forward. in my 25 years as a building inspector this is the most interesting. where something has changed. this is fire-proof paint they're demonstrating here. the building at the end, and the building at this end were both filled with some material, wood
and excelier and stuff to start a fire. they lit them at the same time. four or five minutes ago. the building on the end is painted with regular latex paint on everybody's house. the building next to that is painted with latex paint. >> that is catching fire now. >> we can simulate the fire spread from house to house. and we anticipate unfortunately again. the next 2 buildings are coated with the fireproof paint. many companies make this stuff. this is a particular brand made international fire resistance. >> they were generous to do the mock up for us. >> they have done this at the request of the building department. we have seen that the building at the end, just painted with latex paint is just about gone. the building next-door is catching fire and will burn through the wall shortly. the building at this end show
smoking as the material inside burns. we will see where it goes from there. here we have someone from california oes and fire department. put your hand right up against the wall it is not even too hot to touch. thei the implications of this are dramatic. providing fire resistive barriers is quite expensive. it requires sheetrock. >> pouring off the siding and putting it back. in san francisco we have zero lot lines. it is impossible. they have equipment to slide in and apply this material. >> we have used it a lot in san francisco for historic buildings where we want to preserve the detail. the trim and cove and ornamentation. you can improve the fire resistanceness of the building by having it applied by spray.
>> we have tom here who is in charge of the fire training. what do you see going on >> four buildings made of the same material but protected by the same paint. >> now we have three buildings. >> yeah, three. there was four. >> right. this problem where we have fire spread from one building to the next building that is a san francisco problem? >> yeah, in fact, there is probably more gap here between these buildings than there is in our normal -- >> which is usually a half an inch to an inch. >> right. >> sometimes they're separated at the ends and the fire is contained within the gap. you have a chimney build up. >> one of the things to point out they're using normal combustibles to start the fire which is wood and straw. in the year 2006 in people's home the normal combustible is not a class a material it is class c, which is the